In 1998, I went to Disney World, finally got to see GB in concert, and got a Saint Bernard. During the year, I worked several different jobs. In the early part of the year, I worked for Express Personnel at the Government Center (basically entering child support payment information). I also worked part time at Premiere Video. Later in the year, I spent every other weekend supervising 3 developmentally disabled individuals.
Some of the movies I went to in the spring of '98 included "Spice World" (yes, you read that right), Robert Duvall as "The Apostle", "Blues Brothers 2000" (not very good), "Sphere" (not at all good) with my friend Brian Chadbo, Adam Sandler in "The Wedding Singer" on Valentine's Day, Spade in "Senseless" at the cheap theatre (where it belonged), "The Big Lebowski" (very strange movie), Snipes in "U.S. Marshals", Leo in "The Man in the Iron Mask" (his first movie after "Titanic"), McConaughey in "The Newton Boys", Bacon in "Wild Things" (very cool flick), Travolta in "Primary Colors", the 20th anniversary rerelease of "Grease", the remake of "Psycho", Cage and Ryan in "City of Angels", Aniston in "The Object of my Affection", "Major League (3): Back to the Minors", and Swayze in "Black Dog".
The big summer movies got going with "Deep Impact" starring Morgan Freeman as the President of the U.S. The fun continued with "Bulworth", "The Horse Whisperer", "Godzilla" (what a piece of crap), Chris Farley's last movie, "Almost Heroes", Sandra Bullock in "Hope Floats" (boring), and the first of the great movies of the year, Jim Carrey in "The Truman Show".
This movie predated modern reality TV, but really foreshadowed what was to come (though, in this case, Truman had no idea he was on camera, at least not in the beginning). Carrey proved he could be just as effective in a drama as in a comedy.
I also saw Disney's "Mulan", Michael Douglas in "A Perfect Murder", Norm McDonald's "Dirty Work", Harrison in "Six Days Seven Nights", the "X-Files" movie, Eddie Murphy in the very childish "Dr. Doolittle", and Clooney in "Out of Sight".
I somewhat reluctantly went to see Bruce Willis in "Armageddon". I had heard it was crap, but it was making a lot of money and I was curious to see what the fuss was about. Well, it was crap. The biggest problem is that there were too many fuckin cuts. The camera wouldn't stay still for more than 2 or 3 seconds. What a piece of shit! For a while, it looked like it was gonna be the top-grossing movie of '98, but thank God it wasn't.
Other movies I went to over the summer included Mel in "Lethal Weapon 4", "Small Soldiers", "There's Something About Mary" (good, but not as funny as I was hoping for), "The Mask of Zorro" which I saw with Art fart in Winona, "Mafia!", "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later", "BASEketball", Spacey as "The Negotiator", "Snake Eyes" with Art in Winona (one of my brothers' friends, Justin, was at this screening. We caught up a bit before the show started), and the worst movie I've ever seen in a theatre, "The Avengers".
This brings me up to August 21st. I'd been a fan of Leslie Nielsen since the "Naked Gun" movies, so went to see his new movie "Wrongfully Accused" that day. It wasn't that great, but at least I got a few chuckles. Some of the movies I saw that fall: "Simon Birch", Damon & Norton in "Rounders", Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker in "Rush Hour" (part 3 is due next summer), Streep in the chick flick "One True Thing", and the semi-scary "Urban Legend".
One movie I had been looking forward to seeing for some time was the Robin Williams movie, "What Dreams May Come". The tag line on the poster was quite provocative, "After Life, There is More". We went to it one afternoon and were totally enthralled. It's no wonder it won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects (they were fantastic). Very heartfelt movie about death and what quite possibly comes afterward.
As October came, I went to "Pleasantville" with the Artmonster, the CG "Antz", Will Ferrell in "A Night at the Roxbury", Ian McKellan in "Apt Pupil" at the cheap theatre with Art (who nodded off a bit during this one), Eddie in the not very funny "Holy Man", "Rushmore", "Bride of Chucky" (I wasn't the only one getting married this year), Kidman and Bullock in "Practical Magic", Robin Williams again in "Patch Adams", Pitt in the 3-hour "Meet Joe Black", Cate Blanchett as "Elizabeth", Adam Sandler in "The Waterboy" (my mom took me to this on my 28th birthday), "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" (crap), "A Bug's Life" with Art in Winona (not as good as "Antz"), "Babe: Pig in the City", Jerry Springer in "Ringmaster", Gwyneth in the very good "Shakespeare in Love" (it didn't deserve to win Best Picture, however), "Star Trek: Insurrection", and then came a fantastic thriller from Sam Raimi called "A Simple Plan".
It takes place in Minnesota during the winter. It has some fantastic twists and makes you think about what you would do if you found hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around one wintry afternoon. It didn't come to Rochester, so I actually drove up to the MOA (Mall of America) to see it in December of '98.
As the year wound down, I saw the CG "Prince of Egypt", Hanks and Ryan in "You've Got Mail", Nolte in "Affliction" (I saw this with my mom in Rochester), the WWII-set "The Thin Red Line", and "Life is Beautiful", another (very touching) WWII-set movie.
My favorite movie of the year was also set during World War II (in fact, all 3 of these "war" movies were nominated for Best Picture). The one that touched me the deepest was also the top-grossing movie of the year and its director (Spielberg) was no stranger to my best-of lists. Like "Schindler's List", this is one that I haven't really revisited, but its power still resonates.
Yes, I am talking about "Saving Private Ryan". I went to this on my own in the summer of '98. The opening battle at Normandy will haunt all those who view it and should make any who are pro-war re-evaluate what it is they stand for.
When the movie was reissued later in the year for awards consideration, I went to it again. I strode up to the lady cashier and said, "I'll take one to "Saving Ryan's Privates".